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Cleveland Kidnapping Suspect Ariel Castro Pleads Not Guilty

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jun 12, 2013 1:55PM

Photo credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man accused of kidnapping and holding Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight hostage in his home for a decade, pleaded not guilty to 329 separate crimes Wednesday.

The former musician and school bus driver was charged by a Cuyahoga County grand jury with the following: Two counts of aggravated murder; 139 counts of rape; 177 charges of kidnapping; seven counts of gross sexual imposition; three counts of felony assault; and one count of possession of criminal tools dating from the time of the first woman's disappearance until February 2007.

Berry, DeJesus and Knight were dramatically rescued last month after Berry managed to escape Castro’s home in Cleveland’s West side and call 911. Castro is being held on $8 million bond, Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said his office’s investigation is ongoing, more charges could be filed against Castro in a superseding indictment and they may seek the death penalty against Castro if he's convicted.

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